action against toxic

In May 2001, more than 120 nations signed a historic accord, which aims to eliminate some of the world's most dangerous chemicals. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is the culmination of efforts to ban the production and use of an initial list of twelve substances, which include pesticides such as aldrin, endrin, toxaphene, chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor, mirex, and DDT. The ban also covers industrial chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCBs) as well as unintentional by-products of certain industrial processes, dioxins and furans, considered the most toxic chemicals known to science. More than enough scientific evidence exists to demonstrate that POPs endanger wildlife and humans. POPs are known to stay in the environment long after their release and are known to migrate to places very far from their point of origin. They have been found to accumulate in the food chain and have a tendency to be stored in the body fats of humans and animals. The possibility of passing these chemical burdens to the offspring of animals and humans through breast milk is very real.

POPs have been blamed for grave public health problems including increase in the incidence of certain cancers. Other problems related to POPs exposure include reproductive abnormalities, learning disorders, and decreased immunity from diseases. POPs, especially dioxins, are assumed to have no safety levels for tolerance. Exposure to even very minute quantities (in the parts per trillion range) of this compound is enough to trigger a toxic effect, particularly in synergy with other chemicals.

The Stockholm Convention also identifies the primary sources of these PoPs and recommends the use of alternative processes and materials to prevent their formation in the first place. For example, municipal and medical waste incineration has been singled out in the treaty as a major source of dioxin emissions. Clearly, the way forward would be to support alternative approaches and technologies to deal with the waste problem, such as recycling, composting, and clean production.

While the adoption of the treaty represents a global victory over toxics pollution, the real challenge is how to match these goals of the agreement with concrete action. The treaty needs ratification by at least fifty member states for it to enter into force. Greenpeace Southeast Asia is working towards the treaty's immediate ratification especially by the governments in the ASEAN region.

The latest updates


Million Acts of Blue

Feature story | April 26, 2018 at 16:30

We are calling on people around the world to create a “Million Acts of Blue” — actions to push retailers, corporations and businesses to reduce single-use plastic.

Time to Ban Single-Use Plastics and Protect the Oceans

Publication | April 28, 2017 at 14:41

The oceans are already filled with 275 million tons of plastics. Plastic fragments disperse and can now be found from the tropical Pacific to the freezing Arctic. Seventy percent of plastics ultimately sink, damaging life on the seabed. The...

2016: Year in Pictures

Image gallery | December 21, 2016

Annual Report 2015

Publication | November 17, 2016 at 15:27

Greenpeace Southeast Asia was founded in 2000 in response to rampant environmental degradation brought about by unfettered development in the region.

Don’t know what to do with your old and damaged mobile phones?

Feature story | October 2, 2016 at 11:10

We do! Let's make them into beautiful ELECTRONIC WASTE ART by donating your old gadgets!

5 ways to transform your old smartphone into something new

Blog entry by Robin Perkins | August 18, 2016

Take a look in your drawer at home. It’s likely you’ll have a hidden stash of old phones, just sitting there taking up space. Indeed, according to a recent survey conducted by Greenpeace East Asia, in the US people own on average...

Which fashion brands are going toxic-free?

Blog entry by Kirsten Brodde | July 5, 2016

It was a massive step when Adidas, Puma and Nike promised to go toxic-free by 2020. But when we turned our attention to other companies, the rest of the industry put up resistance. “It’s not feasible what Greenpeace wants us to do,”...

The time has come to get rid of PFCs for good

Blog entry by Chiara Milford | January 13, 2016

Who hasn't dreamt of being in the untouched wilderness of the Himalayas, the Andes or the Altai Mountains, hiking or climbing in these incredible natural landscapes? Nowhere else on earth is the snow purer or the water cleaner than in...

2015: A Year in Pictures

Image gallery | December 24, 2015

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